15 Months

Feeding

  • Your baby should be on whole milk and transitioned from bottle to cup.
  • Your “good eater” may become “fair to poor” as a toddler. Toddlers tend to go on food “jags” where certain foods are consumed to the exclusion of others. One day your child may love green beans and only want green beans. The next day your child may not touch them.
  • Certain foods are considered a choking hazard and are hard to control in the mouth and can be lodged in the esophagus. Avoid foods, such as nuts, raw carrots, popcorn, and hard candy.
  • Limit the amount of juice you give. Your child may consume excessive amounts of juice, to the exclusion of milk, if given the opportunity.
  • Whenever possible, allow your child to choose between two options, both of which are acceptable to you. For example, let your child decide between a banana and applesauce for snack or between two of their favorite books. Allowing them to make choices in some areas will decrease power struggles in others.

Socialization/Speech

  • “Stranger anxiety” and anxiety connected with separation from family members is still common at this age. Never make fun of their fear. Do not force them to confront people who scare them such as Santa Clause or clowns. Accept their fear and speak reassuringly. Some children are slow to warm up. They show this by being cautious or withdrawn. Others are outgoing. They show this by being friendly, interactive, or even aggressive (eg, hitting or biting).
  • A child’s understanding of how words can be used to share experiences and feelings will be increased by the conversations, songs, verbal games, and books you share with your child. Books do not have to be “read.” You can use simple words to just talk about the pictures or story.
  • Help your child learn the language of feelings by using words that describe feelings and emotions.
  • Narrate your child’s gestures. For example, if they point to a cookie, say, “Are you pointing at the cookie? Do you want the cookie?”
  • Use simple, clear phrases to give your child instructions.
  • Encourage your child to repeat words. Respond with pleasure to their attempt to imitate words. Listen to and answer the child’s questions.

Sleep

  • Continue to put your child to bed at the same time each night. Maintaining a consistent bedtime routine, in the room where your child will be sleeping, will help prepare them for bedtime.
  • Tuck them in when they are drowsy but still awake.
  • Some children at this age, even though they have been sleeping well, may go through a short period of night waking. If they happen to waken, do not give them playful attention; a brief visit with reassurance from you is all that is needed for them to return to sleep. Provide your child with a stuffed animal, blanket, or favorite toy that they can use to help console themselves at bedtime should they wake.
  • Do not give your child a bottle to sleep with or bring them into bed with you as a means to get them back to sleep.

Temper Tantrums

  • Distracting your toddler by offering them an alternative activity may prevent needless conflicts or tantrums. When reading, let them choose the book. Let them control turning the pages.
  • Praise your toddler for good behavior and accomplishments.
  • Develop strategies with your partner to consistently manage the power struggles that result from your toddler’s need to control their environment.
  • Set limits for your toddler by using distraction, gentle restraint, and, when necessary, a brief time-out. Separate your toddler from the cause of the problem, stay close to him/her, and stick to structure and routines.
  • Teach your toddler not to hit, bite, or use other aggressive behaviors. Model this behavior yourself by not spanking your toddler and by handling conflict with your partner constructively and nonviolently. Spanking increases the chance of physical injury, and your child is unlikely to understand the connection between the behavior and the punishment.

Healthy Teeth

  • Schedule you toddler’s first dental visit by age 2 at the latest.
  • Many toddlers develop tooth decay (also called childhood caries) because bacteria that cause tooth decay can be passed on to your toddler through your saliva when you kiss them or share a cup or spoon. To protect your baby’s teeth and prevent decay, make sure you brush and floss your own teeth, don’t share utensils, and don’t clean their pacifier in your mouth.
  • If you are having difficulty weaning your child from the nighttime bottle, do not use formula, milk, or juice in the nighttime bottle. Only put water in the bottle.

Safety

Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator: www.seatcheck.org
Toll-free Number: 866-SEATCHECK (866-732-8243)

  • Remove poisons and toxic household products from your home or keep them high and out of reach in locked cabinets. Have safety caps on all medications and lock them away.
  • Keep the number of the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) near every telephone, and call immediately if there is a poisoning emergency. Do not make your child vomit.
  • Use gates at the top and bottom of stairs. To prevent children from falling out of windows, keep furniture away from windows and install operable window guards on second- and higher-story windows.
  • Do not leave heavy objects or containers of hot liquids on tables with table-cloths that your child might pull down. Turn pan handles toward the back of the stove. Keep your child away from hot stoves, fireplaces, irons, curling irons, and space heaters.
  • Keep small appliances and electrical cords out of your child’s reach.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector and develop an escape plan in the event of a fire in your home.
  • The hottest temperature at the faucet should be no higher than 120⁰F. In many cases, you can adjust your water heater. Before bathing your child, continue to test the water temperature with your wrist to make sure it is not too hot.

Immunizations

  • Your child will receive their last pneumococcal and Hib vaccinations. This completes the series that was administered at the 2, 4, and 6 month well checks.